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Grand Rapids commissioners to vote on $553 million budget

Dustin Dwyer
Michigan Radio
Grand Rapids city hall.

Grand Rapids city commissioners are expected to vote on the city’s $553 million budget at tonight’s meeting.

The budget calls for hiring an additional 26 staff. That includes two new police officers and other support staff for the department.

The city will increase spending on parks and road improvements, but still sock away a few million dollars for its rainy day fund.

Josh Lunger is with the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce. He spoke during a public comment session on the budget earlier this month. 

“Times are good right now, but the better we can prepare for the next downturn means less core services and other essential programs that have to face the chopping block.”

The total budget of $553 million is down from a budget of $590 million last year.

"[W]e too need to be looking at how to invest long term in the remediation of lead in the homes that are in our city," says Grand Rapids city commissioner Senita Lenear.

The city will spend about a million dollars to replace water pipes made of lead.

Commission Senita Lenear says she hopes to see the city spend some of its own money in future years to address lead paint as well.

“As we look at these very significant investments in our city, we too need to be looking at how to invest long term in the remediation of lead in the homes that are in our city.”

Grand Rapids does currently spend on lead remediation, but the money comes from a federal grant, which is scheduled to expire in October.

The vote on the fiscal year 2020 budget is scheduled for tonight’s city commission meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. The full meeting agenda is here. The meeting can be streamed online here

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Radio’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Radio since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.